Released: January 14, 2008
Good afternoon everyone. Stay where you are and no one gets wet. The ad you just saw is not only intended to build some real excitement for the FCX Clarity but we want to let consumers know that we think fuel cell technology has taken another big step toward the real world. It's further proof that we continue to deliver on our environmental commitment and take absolute dead aim at advancing Honda's innovative leadership. We're excited to see, now that everyone is talking about this important challenge the environment but this is a race we've been running and leading for more than thirty years. And we intend to maintain that lead and accelerate the pace of our progress. In just a few minutes, I'll be back to unveil the new Pilot prototype vehicle. But now, it's my great pleasure to introduce our global CEO, Mr. Takeo Fukui, who will share some perspective and exciting news about the future of Honda's environmental efforts.
Good afternoon everyone. And thank you for joining us. This is the 5th straight year I have attended the North American International Auto Show. But whenever I come to Detroit I think back to my first visit in 1974.
I was a young engineer participating in an important emissions certification test for the Civic at the EPA lab in Ann Arbor. We believed that clean air was important for the future of life on this earth. And we made it a central focus of our product development efforts.
It was November 1974 and Civic became the first vehicle to pass the new standards of the U.S. Clean Air Act based solely on engine performance. But what I remember most ...was, that the EPA inspector congratulated me for achieving the industry's top rating for fuel economy.
For the past three decades we have continued to challenge in both areas clean air and fuel efficiency. Today, every Honda and Acura vehicle sold in America individually meets or exceeds EPA Tier 2, Bin 5 the emissions standard in all 50 states even our light trucks.
Now global warming is the number one environmental issue. For every company, increasing fuel efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions is the single most important challenge we face. And with the new CAFE standards established by the U.S. government. I look at this challenge in the same way we approached the issue of clean air more than 40 years ago.
We believe that by improving fuel efficiency, we can achieve something important for the future of life on this earth. So, the challenge to create the most fuel efficient products for our customers and the environment will continue as a central focus of our product development efforts.
At Honda, we believe this challenge cannot be met with a single technology. So, we are now developing a number of new vehicles and power plants.
We think the ultimate solution is a fuel cell vehicle that sets a new world standard for cleaner emissions and high fuel efficiency through alternative fuel technology.
The hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity you see here delivers both advanced technology and advanced design and will be offered to a limited number of customers in California later this year. This vehicle promises to lead the way for the next 100 years of personal mobility.
But, for today we continue to invest in other technologies as well. Based on our engineering expertise we believe that hybrid power is best-suited for smaller vehicles where the fuel efficiency gains are the greatest. The Honda IMA system is the ideal technology for a small hybrid car because it's more compact, lightweight and lower in cost while achieving higher fuel efficiency.
Within the next few years, we are introducing two different, all-new hybrid small cars. Next year, we will launch a hybrid vehicle with a newly developed lightweight and compact IMA hybrid system.
This vehicle will achieve high fuel efficiency meet the needs of a family and be offered at a more affordable price based on Honda's efforts to significantly reduce cost. The global sales plan for this vehicle is 200,000 units including 100,000 units in North America.
We will then introduce a new hybrid sports model on a global basis based on the CR-Z you see here today. CR-Z combines environmentally responsible performance with sporty excitement.
Based on this direction, we envision that hybrid models will account for approximately 10 percent of Honda's global automobile sales by around the year 2010.
Finally, we have also developed the new i-DTEC clean diesel engine series. The first new i-DTEC engine meeting Euro5 emissions standards will go on sale in Europe this year. We will debut i-DTEC technology in the U.S. next year that will meet the same Tier2, Bin5 emissions standard as a gasoline engine vehicle. But, without the need for a tank of urea onboard.
This i-DTEC clean diesel engine will be introduced first on an Acura brand vehicle in 2009. Please take the opportunity to see the i-DTEC engine displayed in the Acura booth. This will be followed in the future by the introduction to a Honda model.
Importantly, even as we make it a priority to reduce CO2 emissions with environmentally responsible vehicle we will continue to make them fun to drive fun to use and achieve advanced safety performance. Based on this strong vision we believe that Honda will continue to meet the needs of our customers while doing our best to ensure the future of life on this earth. Thank you.
Now, I'd like to turn the presentation back over to John.
Thank you, Mr. Fukui and hello again everyone. Hopefully, you've gotten a clear picture of where we're headed with our new hybrid and diesel technologies. Now, I'd like to shift gears to talk about the state of our Honda Division business and a new vehicle that will help carry our company to another year of record sales. 2007 was a big year for Honda. We launched the eighth-generation of our flagship Accord, Debuted our next-generation fuel cell car the FCX Clarity Began construction of our 7th auto plant in North America. And placed three Honda models on the top ten best-sellers list, including a dramatically styled new CR-V, which also took top honors as America's best-selling SUV for 2007. The result was Honda Division's twelfth consecutive year of attracting a record number of customers and 14th straight year of continuous sales growth that parallels our deepening commitment to the U.S. market both in terms of employment and investment. Let me also remind you that nearly 80% of our U.S. sales volume is produced in North America... And we're looking to carry that momentum into 2008 with projected sales of 1.4 million Honda brand cars and light trucks. And we will continue our focus on creating new value for the customer Like the Accord, CR-V and Civic before it the new, second generation Honda Pilot has its foundations set firmly in our image of the customer and what it is they truly value in a mid-size family SUV.
When the Pilot entered the market in 2002, it set a new standard for the mid-size SUV segment with its unique blend of crossover refinement, fuel efficiency and eight-passenger family SUV functionality. And let me remind you that the first generation Pilot earned six consecutive 5Best truck awards from ";Car & Driver"; magazine and that is in the face of increased competition. We've been able to advance this concept based upon the fact that Pilot like four other models we sell in America was exclusively researched, designed and developed by our U.S. R&D teams in Los Angeles and Ohio. This is the second-generation of Pilot developed by Honda's U.S. R&D operations whose understanding of the customer and the market has only gotten stronger. For 2009, we will build on Pilot's award-winning formula with a redesigned new platform that delivers a more spacious and functional interior the best balance of car-like on road dynamics and SUV toughness ...exceptional fuel economy and top-class safety performance In short a cleaner, safer, funner and BETTER IN EVERY WAY new 2009 Honda Pilot. So let's take a look at what we created in the 2009 Honda Pilot prototype.
This prototype model speaks clearly to the design and packaging direction we will take with the second-generation Pilot that will launch in full production dress as a 2009 model later this spring. Its strong front-end beefy pillar, crisp character lines and confident stance speak to its tried and true SUV attributes ? including ruggedness, ample space, and real off-road and towing capability. Let's take a look at the interior, where our family-oriented customers place their greatest focus In typical Honda fashion, we focused on clever packaging and optimal use of space that is sure to set it apart in its segment. Three rows of seats for real people provide a high degree of adaptability for people and large cargo loads.
The third row also now provides enough knee room to comfortably fit an above-average-sized male. Meaning Pilot's 3rd row is not just for show it's among the most practical in the industry. These ideas reinforce Pilot's ultimate strength providing the most interior space, functionality, and flexibility in a relatively compact and efficient exterior package. Building on these traditional SUV attributes, Pilot continues to offer all-weather and off-road capabilities that this customer desires for their outdoor-oriented recreational lives. In addition, we beefed up Pilot's towing ability even more. The new Pilot will be equipped with a V-6 engine that employs the latest generation of Honda's fuel-saving ";Variable Cylinder Management"; technology with the ability to operate on 6-cylinders for power and in 4- and 3-cylinder modes for efficiency an improvement on the Pilot's existing 2-mode VCM system. It's the kind of continuous innovation and advancement that has made Honda a fuel efficiency leader.
Critical to Pilots success and consistent with our Safety for Everyone promise the new Pilot is designed to achieve the highest levels of safety in its class. This was a major focus of our U.S. design and development teams, which conducted all of the Pilot's safety development and testing at our state-of-the-art crash test center just down the road in Raymond, Ohio. For 2009, we are applying our unique ";Advanced Compatibility Engineering"; body structure to Pilot for the first time enhancing occupant protection while helping to mitigate the effects of a collision with vehicles of different sizes.
By the end of this year, ACE body structure will be on more than 90 percent of our volume in the Honda lineup. No other company or brand has made this kind of commitment to vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility - period. To achieve this high level of safety while trying to maximize fuel efficiency, the new Pilot also will have the most extensive application of high-strength steel in any Honda product to date. It's this comprehensive approach to safety that has earned us top ratings from our customers and from independent authorities like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, Honda will put more I I H S ";top safety pick"; vehicles on the road this year than any other brand. We're also enhancing the premium appeal of Pilot.
For the first time, customers will be able to select a new Touring trim level, equipped with premium content to reach out to new buyers. As we get closer to the spring launch, we'll be providing you with more details on the new Pilot. With its bolder styling, enhanced safety, and fuel efficiency along with a more functional, spacious and flexible interior we believe the prototype model you see here today represents a stronger, tougher, BETTER new direction for the next-generation Pilot. Thank you again for joining us, and we welcome you now to take a close look. I hope you enjoy the rest of the show.